Bitcoin Weekly Recap 12-18-2015
Bitwage’s Jonathan Chester on Bitcoin Challenges
In an interview with Coin Telegraph published this past weekend, Jonathan Chester offered his assessment of Bitcoin’s most pressing challenges in the marketplace. After first noting that he sees three different aspects of bitcoin that include its roles as currency, payment network, and ledger, Chester went on to describe the main challenges currently confronting this relatively new invention.
Chester noted that Bitcoin’s currency problems all relate to its overall usability, accessibility, and stability. Where usability is concerned, he focused on the fact that there are still few places where Bitcoin is accepted - though new Bitcoin debit cards will almost certainly alleviate much of that concern. His concern about accessibility notes that most consumers are not going to be interested in going through an exchange to acquire their currency. The volatility issue is a concern simply because most people expect their currency to serve as a reliable store of value.
With respect to the payment network aspect, Chester sees Bitcoin’s lack of liquidity as an immediate concern, given estimates suggesting that three-quarters of all Bitcoins are being stored – which means they are unavailable for trading -and that liquidity can vary wildly from one geographic market to another.
Finally, the Bitwage founder also sees room for improvement within Bitcoin’s blockchain. He noted that there are some real challenges when it comes to separating the ledger’s clearing and settlement functions, and expressed concern that a failure to improve on these areas of the Bitcoin blockchain could cause it to be supplanted by a new and improved type of distributed ledger system.
Bitcoin-only Online Poker Sites Experience Miserable 2015
After almost a year of activity online, a number of Bitcoin-oriented online poker sites have seen little success in capturing a share of the lucrative online gambling market. Companies like BitnPlay and Get Lucky Poker - among others - had launched earlier in the year with the intent of servicing online poker players who wanted to play in an environment devoted to Bitcoin use. As the year draws to a close, the former is offline altogether, and the latter’s site is closed for testing purposes. At this point, it seems safe to say that online poker enthusiasts are not yet ready to commit to sites that offer only the Bitcoin option.
Authenta Trade Acquired by Costas, Receives $32 Million in Funding
Bitcoin exchange Authenta Trade has received venture capital in the wake of its recent acquisition by Costas, Inc. The company, which is based in Cyprus, hopes to provide its customers with everything from currency liquidity and free deposit insurance to consumer and business payment options. The company now awaits approval from regulators to gain licensed exchange status and recognition as a Cyprus Investment Firm.
Bitwala Introduces Bitcoin Debit Card
Bitwala made news recently as it introduced a Bitcoin debit card designed to allow its customers an easier option for spending their Bitcoins. The card comes in both virtual and physical form, priced at 5 and 10 EUR respectively. While the company’s previous offerings had already given its customers tremendous access to their Bitcoin accounts and the ability to pay most bills just as they could with a traditional bank account, the new debit card feature will expand those capabilities to include internet purchase and cash withdrawals at ATMS.
Digital Piracy Exposing Gamers to Malware and Bitcoin Theft
If you’ve ever thought about downloading some pirated copy of digital game, and figured that your antivirus software could protect you from any dangerous consequences, think again. Recent reports suggest that users who continue to download pirated games and other software may be leaving themselves vulnerable to thieves who use malware to steal user information … and even their Bitcoins.
This phenomenon was first noted by researchers last year, who found malware contained in cracked copies of various apps for Mac computers, including Angry Birds. The Bitcoin-stealing malware programs were disguised as various digital currency tickers and other crypto-related applications. Security experts have little confidence that antivirus programs can discover these theft tools, which means that people who download illegal pirated material do so at their own peril.
In Case You Missed It:
Evander Smart has a fascinating take on how Chinese capital controls are influencing the price of Bitcoin. Be sure to put it in your reading queue, as it’s well worth a look: Bitcoin Price Soars after next-level Chinese Capital Controls.